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But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Bible

“But Moses said to God.” At this point Moses begins to make excuses about going to Egypt to deliver the Israelites. Something completely missing in the biblical record is why Moses would do that. Moses had been willing and eager to deliver the Israelites earlier (cp. Exod. 2:11; Acts 7:23-25). What has happened to Moses that he no longer seems to care what happens to Israel in Egypt? Although there are likely many contributing factors, such as that he now has a family in Midian, we must remember that at this point in time Moses did not know that he would be with Israel in the wilderness some 40 years. His “job assignment” from God should have taken much less time than that.

A very probable reason is that Moses had been heartbroken and disappointed 40 years earlier when neither the Israelites or God seemed to support his efforts. How could he trust them now? It can be very hard to get over a heartbreaking situation. Horse-lovers know that if you fall off a horse you have to get right back on it or you can lose your desire to ride. In the church world, many Christians who go through a painful church split end up not going back to church, and if they do, and there is a second painful split, the percentage who do not go back to church rises dramatically. Moses had lost his desire to get involved with helping the Israelites, and so he asked God to send someone else (Exod. 4:13). God had to make a huge effort that took the greater part of two chapters (Exod. 3 and 4) to get Moses to go back to Egypt.

There is a great lesson in this record for Christians who desire to help other Christians who have been hurt and are on the sidelines of life as a result. If it took a huge amount of effort for God Himself to get Moses “back in the game,” so to speak, then other helper/encouragers will also need wisdom, patience, persistence and prayer in their efforts. Most people who have been hurt need outside help, so God’s encouragers need to know that they need to lovingly insert themselves (intrude) into the lives of those who are hurt to get them moving again in a positive direction.

“Who am I.” This is Moses’ first excuse to not go to Egypt. This excuse seems totally normal, but it is just an excuse. Moses did not really want to go, as we learn in Exodus 4:13. But saying “Who am I” can seem reasonable. We often underestimate our abilities, especially when it comes to things that God wants us to do. But God would not ask if we could not do what He wanted. Successful believers need to see themselves as God sees them.


Commentary for: Exodus 3:11